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Past Watchful Dragons: Fantasy and Faith in the World of C.S. Lewis Paperback – July 25, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


It is no small achievement to gather twelve essays written with authority and grace (ten on Lewis and one each on Tolkien and J.K. Rowling). --Robert Trexler, Editor, CSL: The Bulletin of the New York C.S. Lewis Society

This is no dry collection, but a continuation in kind of the vibrant conversations that went on between C.S. Lewis and his like-minded friends in smoky Oxford pubs and book-lined college rooms. --Colin Duriez, Author of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship

A welcome collection of reflections on C.S. Lewis by both seasoned and fresh voices on a wide range of topics topped off with two provocative explorations into Tolkien and Rowling. --Christopher Mitchell, Director, Marion E. Wade Center, Wheaton College

About the Author

Amy H. Sturgis earned her Ph.D. in Intellectual History at Vanderbilt University and teaches Interdisciplinary Studies at Belmont University. She is the author of four books and numerous book chapters and articles, as well as the editor of three books.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: The Mythopoeic Press; 1 edition (July 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188772611X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887726115
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,019,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy H. Sturgis earned her Ph.D. in Intellectual History from Vanderbilt University. Her primary fields include Science Fiction/Fantasy Studies and Native American Studies.

Sturgis is author of four books as well as more than forty scholarly and mainstream book chapters, articles, and presentations on historical and speculative fiction topics. She also edits books on science fiction and fantasy subjects. In 2006, Sturgis was honored with the Imperishable Flame Award for Achievement in Tolkien/Inklings Scholarship.

She contributes regular "History of the Genre" features to and narrates contemporary science fiction stories for the U.K.-based podcast StarShipSofa. In 2010, StarShipSofa became the first podcast ever to win a Hugo Award.

Sturgis teaches Interdisciplinary Studies at the university level and also is a faculty member of the innovative Mythgard Institute. She frequently speaks at colleges and genre conventions across North America.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Granger on September 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Past Watchful Dragons: Fantasy and Faith in the World of C. S. Lewis" is a collection of twelve essays from the Belmont University conference of the same name in November 2005. I attended that conference, and, because I attended several of the talks in the book, I have been eagerly awaiting this volume. It was well worth the wait.

Dr. Amy Sturgis, who helped host and organize the conference and who edited this collection for Mythopoeic Press, has chosen a real diversity of topics and approaches and conclusions about Lewis' faith, his works of fantasy, and his influence. Remarkably, every essay is a winner. My favorites were "Surprised but not by Joy: Political Comment in Out of the Silent Planet," by Karen Wright Hayes, "Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve: Lewisian Perspectives on the Human in The Chronicles of Narnia" by Donald Williams, and "The Elfin Mystique: Fantasy and Feminism in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series" by Kathryn McDaniel. This last talk, along with Andrew Lazo's talk at the same conference on Lewis and Tolkien as "modern writers," helped reshape my thinking about not only Lewis but Rowling (as a postmodern). Revisiting it in print was a great treat; as with all the essays collected here, it forced me back into the Lewis texts and those he influenced for an appreciation of them at greater depth. This volume is a must-have for libraries with Inkling collections and for serious readers of Lewis specifically and modern and postmodern English literature in general.

The volume is attractively and professionally done. Lest I only say uncritical things, I wish the cover had been in color and that the font had been one point greater. My wife thought the print easy to read, however, and she likes large-print books! De gustibus? Perhaps.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Travis Prinzi on August 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an essay book that I've returned to many times and has informed my own work and understanding of fantasy fiction and contributed to my own work.

When you buy a CD, you always know you're running the risk of purchasing a few skippable songs; the same is true for a book of essays. But there are no skippable essays in Past Watchful Dragons, edited by Amy H. Sturgis. I found myself consistently saying, "Oh, now this is the best essay in the book." That is, until I read the next one. These are 12 excellent essays; the two at the end which delve into Tolkien and Rowling are nice additions to the 10 on Lewis. I'm not going to get into any of them here, because I don't want to give away their arguments, and I won't do it justice. Purchase of a copy of Past Watchful Dragons. You won't regret it.

Lewis scholar Paul F. Ford wrote, "One hazard in an encyclopedic study such as this is the ever-present risk of analyzing the life right out of a story". This hazard is just as much a possibility for scholarly analysis of a story, but it's a hazard that Past Watchful Dragons completely avoided. This volume is a must-have for lovers of C.S. Lewis. It not only engages in excellent scholarly work, but it maintains the vital heart of Lewis's writings. You don't expect to have your heart moved while reading a collection of academic essays, but that's what will happen if you read Past Watchful Dragons.
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